Everyone gets bored, even annoyed with boredom sometimes. But the sight of a very bored 20 something guy waiting in line is quite rare nowadays with the rise of smartphone users. There are apps that can keep boredom at bay after all.
Game apps don’t have the highest retention rate but it is the most engaged app category. Games are engaged 10 times more per day compared to other app categories (as a whole). Strategy games average 3 sessions a day, closely followed by adventure games and then cards and board games*. Session length is longest for card and board games with users engaging on the app for 12-14 minutes. Strategy games place a far second with an average of about 11 minutes. Adventure games start in the same range on the first day before plummeting down to 8-9 minutes per session.
This just shows that users open game apps frequently but doesn’t really sit down for a long time to play, not even with the best of apps. It’s difficult (almost impossible) to ascertain what users are doing while playing these games but what is sure is that they spend some amount of time with the app and then return to it several times later in the day, which brings on the following questions:
- Why are users engage this type of app more than others?
- What makes the user continually return to the app?
To answer these questions, let’s have a look at common features of best apps that fall under the category of adventure, card, and strategy. All these boredom-busting apps have these common denominators:
There is more time for gameplay instead of following through a storyline. Unlimited lives or tries is also a big bonus. While gameplay set against time gives the impression of time quickly passing by in real life.
Mini games and adventures can keep users from leaving the game since has an option for quick and manageable sessions for non-hardcore gamers or for those who do not have plenty of time to sit through a full game session.
Access to navigation and gameplay should be only a few taps away. Most importantly, controls should not be something that needs a learning curve – it should be almost instantaneously instinctive.
No linear progress
There are level advancements but no storyline to follow with only one recurring goal in the gameplay. Games like this are called “Super Casual”. Some of the best apps are considered as super casual.
Strong character connection
This is in combination with interactions in the game environment wherein the user can customize characters and other game elements. Examples are the collection and combination of objects they can keep as accessories or as aides in gameplay. The user should have something to fixate upon.
Offline play and guest user option
A casual gamer should be able to access the app anytime, anywhere. Some users are also more inclined to download an app if it can be played offline since Wifi availability is limited in many areas.
Users should immediately learn how they did in a single game and not wait for the entire storyline or multi-level chapter before they receive scores and other stats. Immediate gratification should be at play.
Attract competitive players through leaderboards and social players through co-op plays. You want competitive and social players in your game. As long as they have someone they know to compete (or cooperate), they would return to the game again and again.
Facilitate attachment to the game with progress investment (the amount of time and money the player already spent on the game). Give a sense of progression even if they just started playing (free coins after the first game, etc.).
There are certainly more features and genre-specific formulas. If you noticed more features in game apps that could’ve contributed to its time killer status, let me know in the comments.
*Data is for iOS games only